Residents will have the opportunity to tour the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Wave Knight which is scheduled to arrive in Montserrat on Monday August 22 for a four-day visit.
RFA Wave Knight is on deployment to the region as part of Atlantic Patrol Task North (APT(N)). This is a year-round commitment to the region and, in particular, to the Overseas Territories, in support of humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) and counter narcotics operations.
The British Defence Attache to the Caribbean, Lt. Col Patrick Brown, will also visit during the week and will have a number of discussions with the ship, the Governor (whom he advises), the Commissioner of Police and the Royal Montserrat Defence Force on Montserrat’s internal and external security issues.
During WAVE KNIGHT’s visit the Commanding Officer, Captain Nigel Budd, will call on HE the Governor and the Premier as well as visiting the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and the Disaster Management Co-ordination Agency. Much of the visit will focus on disaster contingency planning and exercising between the island’s experts and the ship’s own teams. This will involve mutual capability briefings, planning meetings and conducting a disaster relief exercise. The centrepiece will be an exercise at the DMCA on Tuesday August 23 and in Little Bay on the morning of Wednesday August 24 which will test on-island preparations for a severe weather event and, the ship’s ability to deploy its assets ashore and Montserrat’s ability to co-ordinate a land-based response.
In addition, the ship’s company will assist with community projects, host a media visit and official reception on board and there are plans for a T20 cricket match on the Little Bay pitch on Thursday evening. The ship leaves on Friday August 26.
Between 0900 and 1200 on Thursday 25 August the ship will be happy to host visits to the ship by members of the public. The visits are open to anyone over the age of 10 years old and who must be able to embark and disembark the ship and its tender vessel and be able to ascend and descend staircases on the ship. Tenders to the ship will depart at 0845, 0945 and 1045 from the Little Bay jetty. Anyone interested should report to the Port Authority at least ten minutes before the departure of each tender.
Wave Knight has loaded humanitarian and disaster relief and UK Department for International Development (DfID) stores to support relief operations in the region. Prior to deployment the ship’s company of Wave Knight and her HADR troop completed a training package which tested and developed the ship’s company’s ability to plan and deliver support to relief operations. While in the region she works closely with the United States Coast Guard and other regional assets on counter-drugs and other illegal trafficking operations. This means that anyone arrested in the course of these operations is liable to prosecution under US law.
A Royal Navy Lynx Mk8 helicopter is on board for the deployment to conduct counter narcotics operations at sea and provide an airborne asset for surveillance, stores delivery and search and rescue tasking if required. While in Montserrat the Lynx will take part in a number of aerial exercises across the island.
Speaking of the visit the Ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Nigel Budd said “My Ship’s company and I are very much looking forward to our visit and to making and renewing contacts whilst being able to liaise with disaster management authorities regarding our capabilities. We have a very full and busy programme.”